New rendition of definite article debuts in television dialect, describes “thuh” Anzac……
A panel on public and official pronunciation convened by MSC Newswire uncovered what it describes as six categories of routine spoken language abuse by professional broadcasters. They are:-
- Handling of the vowel sound “e” in a generalised context in which the word air so often emerged from broadcasters as “ear.”
- Emergence of the definite article now pronounced as “thuh” before words beginning with a vowel
- Latin-language tendency to emphasise second syllable of certain words
- “Ts” rendered as Ds
- Missing syllables
- Protest used without being followed by “against.”
In its second sitting a variety of words and phrases used by broadcasters that employed a non-standard delivery falling far-wide of received and even common usage.
Other examples were bed rendered to sound like “beard” and bear, as in bearing up, sounding like “beering up.”
“Fear” was routinely substituted for “fair” or “fare” and often rendered vice versa. Hair emerged as hear.
Bed rendered as “beard” was also singled out.
Similarly the name of the fruit pear emerged to sound like pier or peer (of the realm)
It was routine to hear about the damage inflicted on society by “six” abuse.
These were the most frequent half-dozen vowel abuses inflicted by broadcasters on their listeners.
The panel claimed however that it had unearthed a new and startlingly systemic departure from accepted usage that had swept through broadcasting in just the past few months.
The panel observed that the definite article was increasingly being delivered as “ther” or “thuh” in front of words starting with a vowel.
The most routine example was a morning independent television magazine programme described by the show itself as “ther” AM Show.
Other renditions in the thuh or ther category before a vowel included “ther” EU; “ther” average and “ther” emphasis, and ther Easter holidays, and most recently still, thuh Anzac day……………
This was an abrupt and still unacknowledged change in spoken English, and deserved to be analysed by academia, according to the panel which confessed to being flummoxed how the common use of “thee” prior to a vowel sound had so abruptly shifted to the non-elided ther/thuh.
“Thuh” only reason for this the panel could discern at this stage was a still unidentified but influential avatar.
The panel also identified as prevalent in the New Zealand broadcasting argot the romance or Latin-based language formula of emphasising the second vowel as dominant, notably in the delivery of the word health to sound like “halth.”
The squished or swallowed “i” sound substituting for the extended “e” sound was again noted by the panel in a word such as wreckage delivered as “rickige.”
Alternately the word wreckage emerged as wreakage,
Another curious and routine romance language rendering was that of the word prayer as “prier.”
The panel claimed that government, public sector, broadcasters were there to show an example and especially so as New Zealand’s tertiary education was increasingly funded by foreign students paying substantial fees to learn English as a second language.
For example the elision of the words “try to” do this or that emerging as “tryder” was instantly understood by native speakers, said the panel, but was unintelligible to second language students who required substantial context to understand it.
The panel was mildly tolerant of various mangled sayings such as “hone in,” for home-in and in something “playing” (preying) on someone’s mind.
It was similarly inclined to be tolerant in the misuse of more complex words such as “expousing” for espousing.
The panel singled out for urgent attention by state broadcasting administrators the correct usage of the verb to protest which was routinely applied in a way that delivered the opposite of the intended meaning.
By itself protest means support.
Broadcasters routinely used it to mean the opposite i.e. condemn.
Protest requires the addition of the word “against” to deliver the desired negative, condemnatory meaning.
Otherwise it proclaimed positivity as in protesting the innocence of someone.
The panel however dismissed the “lazy lips” omission of the first syllable of the rendering of the word police (pleece) as irritating but trivial in that non native speakers still picked up the meaning through context.
In its first report the panel identified what is described as the near-standard, even de facto received, use of the word “woman” to describe in New Zealand a collection of them.